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7 Ways Sharing Your Story Will Change Your Life

7 Ways Sharing Your Story Will Change Your Life

There are certain stories that unite us all.

Through telling stories, we feel connection, and similarity. Oddly enough, we can also define and create our stories through our own uniqueness. No one else can write the story of our life – it’s what makes us unique, yet we all can relate to certain themes and feelings. When we tell our story, we are asking for attention from those we care about or wish to affect.

So, why are stories so important? It is incredibly important because sharing your story can change your life.

Breath
    Photo Credit: Amy Oestreicher via www.amyoes.com

    Telling our stories helps us process what happens in our lives. Through our shared experience, we can heal. It’s not the details that matter – suffering is relative. By sharing our stories, we can connect with others who feel the same way. We suddenly feel less alone in our ever-unfolding narrative.

    You don’t have to be a book author, a storyteller, or a Chatty Cathy to tell your story. Here are seven ways to start sharing your story.

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    1.) Make a mantra

    When the weather’s beautiful out, I love taking nature walks and reciting this mantra to myself:

    Breathe in experience, breathe out your story.

    Breathe in, and when you exhale, ask yourself what truth you are aching to express today.

    Floating-Girl
      Photo credit: Amy Oestreicher

      2.) Read a children’s book

      Does anyone remember the book It Looked Like Spilt Milk? The pages are simply filled with white splotches – clouds. It’s up to you to decide what shapes these “clouds” are taking. Children’s books make stories out of anything – even white splotches! There’s nothing like a kid’s book to get your mind thinking like a storyteller. Pick a good kiddie read and find the adventure in your own life.

      3.) Write a line a day

      This little book is the best investment I made. For me, the idea of “journaling” every day is daunting. Will I really have time to commit? This is a little journal where there’s literally only room for ONE line – and it’s for five years! It makes me a bit teary-eyed looking back on mine. I’m on “Year Four” already. If I go to the very first entry, it’s after a terrible surgery. The next year, I’m performing a one-woman musical about that terrible surgery. The next year, I met a guy online. The next year, I’m his wife!

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      I can’t recommend a “Line A Day” journal enough. It’s your story… in time-lapse mode!

      4.) Find your story-song

      What am I talking about? Have you ever heard a song on the radio that really resonated with you, or with a certain time in your life? Did one song remind you of a terrible break up, or your first kiss, or that party you just couldn’t stop dancing at? Today, find that song and share it. Tada! Story shared.

      5.) Send a card – just because

      Snail-mail. Remember that? I love sending cards because; well, they give me an excuse to write! With a pen?!. How old fashioned. Today, send a card to a friend, just because. Thank them for the impact they’ve made on your life – big or small. In doing so, you’ll share with them how they’ve become part of your story. Connections make our stories stronger!

      6.) Be in the moment

      You don’t always know you’re telling a story as you’re living it. If you center yourself in the present moment, a story may unfold right before your eyes!

      Here’s the trick to being in the moment by way of a clever mantra: Awareness Without Judgment.

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      Notice every physical sensation in your body. Have a chat with what I like to call “My Five Superheroes“:  taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell. Think I’m crazy? I call them my “superheroes“ because they save me in the nick of time when I’m about to get lost in anxious thoughts. When I start worrying or pitying myself, I call on these rock stars before I can think one more thought.

      Quick! At this very second, name the first thing you…

      • Smell
      • See
      • Touch
      • Taste (it can be air!)
      • Hear

      Just start with those five physical sensations, and watch your story take shape. You have a story within you. You just have to be present so you can hear it.

      7.) Talk

      Simple, I know; however, speech is healing – and not always as easy as it seems. When we talk about what has happened in or lives, we use our voices to claim ownership over what has happened to us.

      So, go on.. tell your story!

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      Dance-to-the-Rhythm-of-the-Universe
        Photo Credit: Amy Oestreicher

        Conclusion

        Why should you share your story?

        The more stories we hear about turning an obstacle into an opportunity, the more empowered we are to transform our own lives and have confidence that when life actually does surprise us, we’re capable of getting through anything.

        Think that no one can relate to your story?

        That’s the beauty of a metaphor; through a larger vision, we can relate with our own unique stories. You never know who your story might affect, and that is the special super power of storytelling. Everyone’s story is different, but we all can relate to emotions. If you’re human, you’ve felt sadness, hunger, pain, joy,  and loss. It’s not the specifics that tug at our heart strings, it’s how we overcome them. We share our dreams, fears, successes, and losses in order to create the triumphant stories that make up our world.

        What story will you share today?

        Photo Credits: Amy Oestreicher via amyoes.com

        Featured photo credit: Amy Oestreicher via amyoes.com

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        Last Updated on March 30, 2020

        What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

        What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

        Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

        You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

        This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

        What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

        According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

        Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

        There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

        How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

        When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

        Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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        1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

        One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

        The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

        Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

        2. Be Honest

        A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

        If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

        On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

        Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

        3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

        Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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        If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

        4. Succeed at Something

        When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

        Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

        5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

        Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

        Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

        If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

        If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

        Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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        6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

        Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

        You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

        On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

        You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

        7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

        Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

        Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

        Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

        When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

        Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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        In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

        Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

        It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

        Final Thoughts

        When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

        The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

        Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

        Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

        Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

        More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

        Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
        [2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
        [3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
        [4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
        [5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
        [6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
        [7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
        [8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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